Saturday, December 24, 2016

What did Donald Trump do today?

He announced that he was shutting down the Trump Foundation to avoid the appearance of corruption--but that can't happen until criminal investigations into it are complete.

Trump presented his decision as a way to avoid the appearance that his influence could be bought through his charity. (This has been a recurring theme for the Trump family in the past week, and something Trump himself accused Hillary Clinton of during the campaign.) He also seemed to imply that he and his family were being barred from philanthropy, although nothing prevents them from giving their own money to charity.

However, the Trump Foundation--which Trump gave no money to at all between 2009 and 2014--has been a continuing source of legal problems for Trump. He recently admitted that he had used it for "self-dealing"--that is, using its resources to benefit Trump himself financially. 

The New York Attorney General's office, which is investigating the Trump Foundation, noted today that it cannot legally be dissolved until that investigation is concluded.

Why is this bad?

  • Americans who give their own money to support actual charities may have a problem with Trump claiming the moral high ground here.